Dog Breeds That Are of Chinese Origin

For almost 7,000 years, dogs have been a part of Chinese culture. Dogs have appeared in cultural legends, artworks, and skeletal remains discovered during Chinese archaeological digs.

Since their domestication, they have served as guardians, haulers, herders, hunters, and regal companions. From fluffy lapdogs like the shih tzu to wrinkly-faced guard dogs like the well-known shar-pei and rarely mentioned Kunming wolfdog, the breeds come in all shapes and sizes.


Due to their pleasant, friendly temperament and manageable size, pugs are one of the most popular family dog species. They are also one of the oldest breeds on the planet.

The pug most likely originated in China around 400 B.C. as a companion for Tibetan Buddhist monks. Pugs have been linked to Tibetan mastiffs, while some suggest they are connected to the Pekingese, another Chinese dog from China.

This hilarious, affectionate pup, formerly an emperor’s mischievous friend, melts hearts wherever it goes.


Pekingese, often known as “Pekes,” “lion dogs,” or “sun dogs,” were formerly kept as companion pets for Chinese aristocracy and are imprinted in Chinese folklore.

According to legend, Pekingese were created when Buddha shrank a lion to the size of a tiny dog. In actuality, Pekingese are the outcome of a larger dog breeding with a toy-sized dog in China.

For thousands of years, they were a favorite—and well-cared-for—pet of Chinese aristocracy.

Shih Tzus

The shih tzu is a little toy dog with a playful nature that gets its name from its lion-like appearance. The word “lion” derives from Chinese.

Shih Tzus, like Pekingese and pugs, were prized by Chinese nobles for generations and were regarded as the noble dog of China. Shih tzus can be traced back to ancient canine breeds, yet they are closer to wolves than other dog breeds.

Shar Peis

Sharp-peis are a unique and unusual breed with roots in ancient China. They are known for their characteristic wrinkled features, small ears, and blue-black tongues.

Shar-peis, which means “sand skin,” were first developed as hunting and guard dogs in southern China 2,000 years ago.

Unfortunately, during China’s communist revolution in the mid-1900s, shar-pei numbers were destroyed, nearly eradicating the breed.

During the 1970s, a Chinese shar-pei enthusiast gathered American breeders to reintroduce the breed, and numbers increased once more.

Chow Chow

Chow chows are one of the oldest Chinese dog breeds, with records reaching back to 206 B.C. Originally, they were used as hunting and security dogs.

Chows, like shar-pei, have a peculiar appearance: their faces are bear-like, with deep facial wrinkles and a blue-black tongue.

Chinese Crested

Because the Chinese crested has such ancient beginnings, no one knows when or how the breed evolved. Some believe that hairless dogs from Africa were imported to China and bred with tiny, toy-sized dogs to produce the crested. Chinese crested dogs were renowned for hunting pests on Chinese commerce ships.


The Xiasi (pronounced “she-ah-seh”) is a slim, powerful hunting dog that originated in China’s Guizhou area around 1080.

Despite the fact that the breed is typically intended for hunting or guarding, it is widely held in Guizhou province that owning a Xiasi dog can bring prosperity to the household.

Kunming Wolfdog

The Kunming wolfdog is a wolf-dog hybrid linked to German shepherds introduced to China in the 1950s. It is also known as the Chinese German shepherd.

Kunming wolfdogs, like German shepherds, are trained as military aid dogs, fire dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs. They are a popular family dog throughout China and are named after the capital city of Yunnan province.

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